The Truth About Cars » Volkswagen Passat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 12 Apr 2014 23:33:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Volkswagen Passat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Volkswagen Cuts Sales Targets For US Dealers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/volkswagen-cuts-sales-targets-for-us-dealers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/volkswagen-cuts-sales-targets-for-us-dealers/#comments Wed, 24 Jul 2013 23:30:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=496971 AngelesCrest-009-450x300

Despite planning to sell 486,000 units in America this year, Volkswagen has trimmed its sales targets to 440,000 units, after shedding market share in the first half of 2013.

The slowdown is sales has caused Volkswagen to offer aggressive incentives on vehicles, such as 0 percent financing across the board, while workers at its Chattanooga plant have been laid off. Inventories of VW cars remain high, and have risen to 105 days supply as of July 1st, up from 92 days in June. Dealers are crying out for key products like a mid-size crossover, but so far, Volkswagen has only announced a revival of the failed Phaeton luxury car.

On the dealer side, Volkswagen has been struggling with an unhappy dealer body, which was ranked last in a NADA survey. A reworking of VW’s bonus complicated bonus system for dealers, which ended up undoing some of the changes made in January 2013, helped boost satisfaction levels, but dealers are still facing a tough time after three years of rapid growth.

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Amid Slowing Sales, Winterkorn Promises Crossover For VW Dealers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/amid-slowing-sales-winterkorn-promises-crossover-for-vw-dealers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/amid-slowing-sales-winterkorn-promises-crossover-for-vw-dealers/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 12:21:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494905 CrossBlue-Concept-01-Picture-courtesy-Bertel-Schmitt-450x300

Volkswagen is having a bit of a tough year in America. As of June 1st, inventory for the brand stood at 105 days supply (third highest in the industry, behind Cadillac and Lincoln). 500 workers have been laid off  from the Chattanooga assembly line due to slow sales of the Passat, while VW is offering 0 percent APR across the board. What VW lacks, according to dealers, is a mid-size crossover, something bigger than the Tiguan but less expensive than the Touraeg.

Automotive News reports that VW CEO Martin Winterkorn spoke to dealers at a meeting in the Washington, D.C. area, essentially promising them such a vehicle. Appearing with Winterkorn were the CrossBlue concept and the CrossBlue Coupe concept, two vehicles that are said to preview such a crossover.

As it stands, the big debate is over whether to build such a vehicle in Chattanooga, or in Mexico. Building it in Chattanooga would likely mean that those laid off workers would see the return of their jobs. But IG Metall, one of Germany’s biggest labor unions, and a big player on VW’s supervisory board, won’t approve plans for the new vehicle to be built in Tennessee unless workers are allowed to organize there.

There’s a lot at stake here. VW wants a product like this to be built at a factory of its choosing. IG Metall fears that a non-union shop will undermine other unionized VW factories in Europe. The UAW badly needs to organize a foreign plant in the South. Tennessee wants to uphold its reputation as a “right to work” state this is friendlier to business rather than organized labor. All this over a vehicle that many people reading this will immediately dismiss as just another boring crossover. Gotta love the auto industry.

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Volkswagen Delays Passat As Europe’s Woes Hurt D-Segment Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/volkswagen-delays-passat-as-europes-woes-hurt-d-segment-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/volkswagen-delays-passat-as-europes-woes-hurt-d-segment-sales/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 20:37:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491660 800px-VW_Passat_2.0_TDI_BlueMotion_Technology_Comfortline_(B7)_–_Frontansicht,_1._Mai_2011,_Ratingen

The next generation European-market Volkswagen Passat will be delayed until at least the end of 2014, as Volkswagen follows an industry-trend in Europe of neglecting their slow-selling D-segment cars.

Europe’s economic crunch has led to a sharp contraction in new car sales, and D-segment vehicles are among the hardest hit. Ford is delaying replacing the Mondeo with the car we know as the Fusion, until late 2014, while other cars like the Honda Accord are on the chopping block for Europe.

According to Just-Auto, the next Passat will be based off the MQB modular architecture, but with sales of D-segment cars moving so slowly, VW sees little reason to introduce an all-new car in such a slow market. Where VW is really hurting is in the mid-size crossover segment, which is the main culprit behind slowing sales of large sedans. Buyers are opting for crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai, which is roughly the size of our Rogue, rather than a mid-size sedan – and Volkswagen doesn’t really have a competitor in that segment, save for the relatively unpopular (in North America) Tiguan.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1979-volkswagen-dasher-diesel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/junkyard-find-1979-volkswagen-dasher-diesel/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2013 13:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=491017 15 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHaving taken my driver-training classes, circa 1982, in a VW Rabbit Diesel, I thought I’d experienced the slowest car available in the United States during the second half of the 20th century. I was wrong! The oil-burning Dasher (which is what the V.A.G. called the first-gen Audi 80 aka VW Passat in North America) had the same 49 (!) horsepower diesel as the Rabbit, and it weighed between 100 and 400 pounds more. I hadn’t seen a Dasher of any sort for at least a decade, and I don’t recall ever having seen a Dasher Diesel, so this find in a San Jose-area self-service wrecking yard was startling.
17 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe entire spectrum of Malaise Era signifiers may be seen here, from the brown-and-orange tape stripes over tan paint to the rear-window louvers to the gigantic 5 MPH crash bumpers.
06 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince the Rabbit Diesel could be purchased with an automatic, I must assume that the same power-robbing option was available on the Dasher. This one has a 4-speed, which meant that its 0-60 times were probably around 150 seconds instead of 180.
10 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSomeone bought the diesel engine, for reasons that probably made sense at the time.
04 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 119,341 miles on the clock, which is only about 3,500 miles per year… or 20,000 very economical miles per year followed by 28 years of sitting in a driveway.
08 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuch luxury!
07 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWait, the engine— or at least the long block— is still there!
01 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWe laugh at this car now, but the owner of this Dasher almost certainly did a lot of gloating as his ride cruised right past the gas lines caused by the Iranian Revolution-triggered energy crisis.

01 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1979 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin ]]>
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Inside The Industry: TTAC Finds The Missing Etymology Of Passat, Golf, Scirocco, Polo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/inside-the-industry-ttac-finds-the-missing-etymology-of-passat-golf-scirocco-polo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/inside-the-industry-ttac-finds-the-missing-etymology-of-passat-golf-scirocco-polo/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 11:01:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489412 Polo-cat

German launch catalog for the Polo

Where did the names of Volkswagen’s Passat, Golf, Scirocco, Polo come from? What is their meaning? For four decades, it was shrouded in mystery. Forty years later, a famous former Volkswagen CEO, Dr. Carl Hahn, and his illustrious former sales chief, “WP” Schmidt, help TTAC get to the bottom of an unsolved question,

Some of the worst performers in the truth department are the gossip press and the automotive media. A good deal there simply is fantasy. Knowing well that no-one will complain or check, bogus new product plans are being published.  The large-scale availability of cheap 3D rendering software (here is how it’s done) and of WordPress turns this disease into a pandemic.

Most of these lies come and go. Some stay and turn into history. A dark chapter of automotive history falsification is about the names of the new generation of cars that, in the early 1970s, rescued Volkswagen from the brink and that helped turn VW into the powerhouse it is today: Passat, Golf, Scirocco, Polo.

There is so munch nonsense written about those names, that we had to go to the very top, and ask the people who decided these names 40 years ago.

Passat-cat

German launch catalog for the Passat

Before the Volkswagen Passat came out in 1973, all Volkswagen were sold by the number: VW 1200, VW 1303, VW 1600 and so forth. Then came a car called “Passat.” Although nothing was ever officially published, everybody in Germany was convinced that the car was named after the same named trade wind. It had to be.

A year later came two new cars, the Golf, and the Scirocco. The latter is another famous wind. It is called Qibli in Africa, it changes to Scirocco in Italy, and after it crossed the Alps, it is called Föhn and becomes famous for causing headaches and distracted driving in Munich and surroundings.

In Germany, and especially at Volkswagen, everything supposedly goes according to plan and has a system. There was no system announced, so a system was fabricated. Passat, Scirocco: It had to be winds. But where did the Golf fit in?

Even before the Golf appeared, a German auto magazine wrote that the car, following the supposed wind logic, was originally named “Blizzard.” According to the report, an Austrian ski manufacturer with the same name objected, and instead, the car was named Golf.  Or so the apocryphal history says. That story has been written in many books and magazines, and it is wrong. If you believe the story, you have been snowed.

Golf-cat

German launch catalog for the Golf

A little research in the annals of the German Patent and Markenamt would have shown that, before the Golf arrived, the name “Blizzard” was trademarked for products like floor cleaners, perfume, even for socks. There was no entry for cars. In 1973, there wasn’t even one for skis.

The ski trademark was registered half a year after the introduction of the Golf, on October 31, 1974. Most likely by a now highly alarmed Blizzard ski maker, who had not bothered before, and who had read the stories about them allegedly blocking the name for the Golf.  What’s more, the Blizzard trademark for cars remained up for grabs until 1979, when a company called Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha of Toyota, Aichi, Japan, took the Blizzard trademark in Germany. Yes, that Toyota. The mark was used for a luckless Toyota Blizzard, a small Daihatsu-built pocket Jeep. Toyota abandoned the mark in 2010, if you want Blizzard for a car, you most likely will get it.

After Passat, Golf, and Scirocco came the Polo. Its naming still causes great apprehension: Where is the wind? Future cars by Volkswagen had wind names (Jetta, Santana, Vento, Bora,) therefore, members of the media decided that all Volkswagen cars must have wind names, somehow. This leads to the fact that today, Wikipedia, while citing reliable sources, can claim that “the Golf name is derived from the German word for Gulf Stream and the period in its history when VW named vehicles after prominent winds.”

Never mind that a gulf stream is no wind, but an ocean current, the Internet is convinced that the Golf is named after the Gulf Stream. According to Wikipedia, the Polo is named “after Polar Winds.” The latter is said without sources, but by now, the story of Polo and Polar Wind has been copied so many times that it is very easy to find a polar wind source for Wikipedia, even if it is a circular reference – nobody will find out.

I know it differently. I did every launch campaign, I supervised the writing of the catalogs (all pictured here) of the four models, I wrote some myself. All, except those for the Passat. That car was already done when I arrived on my job as Volkswagen copywriter in 1973. No system for the name was ever announced, neither officially nor confidentially. The briefing documents said everything about engine, displacement, they espoused the “Negativer Lenkrollradius”-  but nothing was said about the etymology of the names. Each car had a name, that was it, we were not supposed to ask where it came from, we never knew who created the name, or why. Never ever did anyone think or even joke about the Golf being named after the Gulf Stream, or the Polo after the Polar Wind. Sure, at the agency we joked about “The new  popular sport, Golf.” Sure, the GTI had a golf ball as a shifter knob, and plaid seats. Those were puns, no proof of a meaning.

Scirocco-cat

German launch catalog for the Scirocco

However, who would believe a former copywriter? I decided to go straight to the source.  Volkswagen has a great new and well-funded department, Volkswagen Classic. It is responsible for Volkswagen’s history.  If anyone knows for sure how these names came about, then it’s the people in charge of Volkswagen’s history.

I asked Eberhard Kittler, spokesman of Volkswagen Classics, whether there was a system to this name madness, whether all Volkswagens of that time were named after winds, or the Golf after the Gulf Stream, or the Polo after the Polar Winds.

Kittler had no idea. That allegedly widely known part of history has no presence in Volkswagen’s history department.

Kittler went through the archives, he pulled old internal marketing plans. He found “no conclusive records.”

Herr Kittler continued digging. He reached former, long retired members of Volkswagen’s sales and Marketing departments. They had never heard of a system, or of any official etymology of these names.

Kittler contacted Dr. Carl Hahn, the famous Volkswagen of America Chief who approved the famous Volkswagen ads of the late 50s and early 60, and who was CEO of Volkswagen from 1982 to 1993. Hahn did not know either. “At that time, I was at Continental, doing tires,” Hahn told Kittler. “But if anyone knows, it’s WP Schmidt.”

WP Schmidt was sales chief at Volkswagen when Passat, Golf, Scirocco, and Polo came, and he was so for 27 years. Schmidt is a living legend at Volkswagen. Matters as important as the naming of a car had to cross his table, and had to be approved by “WP.”

Doing research on behalf of TTAC, Hahn contacted Schmidt. “Prof. Hahn asked  Schmidt what was behind the names of Polo, Golf, Scirocco and Passat,” reported Kittler yesterday. “Schmidt did not know about anything behind the names.”

After a thorough review of the documentation, and interviews with prominent witnesses, no support for any of the naming theories was found.

Kittler confirmed that there are many “legends and speculations” about the names, for instance that “Polo could have been a riff on Marco Polo, to hint on Volkswagen’s global vision.” However, as far as the man in charge of Volkswagen’s history is concerned, these explanations came after the fact.

The quest for a meaning is as powerful as nature’s abhorrence of a vacuum. We may have to accept that some things in life are meaningless.

Passat-cat Scirocco-cat Golf-cat Polo-cat ]]>
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SUV Sales Outpacing Family Cars In The UK http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/suv-sales-outpacing-d-segment-in-the-uk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/02/suv-sales-outpacing-d-segment-in-the-uk/#comments Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:24:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=479316

Just as McDonald’s resturants successfully introduced themselves into food-conscious Europe, another American-derived invasive species could be entering and killing off the native fauna.

At a briefing for the launch of the Ford Kuga (aka our Escape), Ford’s Alex Gallagher told Just-Auto that SUV sales are far outpacing sales of D-Segment cars, or what we call mid-size cars in North America. Europe’s D-segment includes not just sedans, but also hatchback and wagon variants as well.

Over the last 5 years, sales of SUVs have more than doubled, to 250,000 units annually, eclipsing D-segment sales for the first time last month. Despite SUVs being primarily thought of as an American product, Gallagher cites the Nissan Qashqai and Juke  as the driving force behind the switch to SUVs. Last month, the Qashqai and Juke ranked 5th and 9th respectively in a top 10 list dominated by small B-segment hatchbacks. In 2012, the 6th place Qashqai outsold the 13th place Vauxhall Insignia (the top selling D-segment car) by roughly 13,000 units, and outsold the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat (the second and third place D-segment cars) by a 2:1 ratio.

While SUVs were once derided as vehicles for farmers, mobsters or over-indulged housewives (at one time being labeled “Chelsea tractors, after the tony London neighborhood) the newest crop of SUVs are more in the dreaded crossover template than anything else. Despite the accepted binary dynamic whereby wagons= good and crossovers=bad, the much maligned two-box vehicles have won high praise from both critics and consumers on the continent. Even Chris Harris went ga-ga for the Dacia Duster, praising it for its simplicity and calling it “the most significant new motorcar launched in the past decade“.

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Car Reliability Stats Updated, Passat Problems Pinpointed http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/car-reliability-stats-updated-passat-problems-pinpointed/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/car-reliability-stats-updated-passat-problems-pinpointed/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 17:49:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=461380

Whenever we post about a Volkswagen, comments about reliability (or, more specifically, the lack of it) inevitably follow. So few will be surprised that, with the latest update to TrueDelta’s car reliability stats, the 2012 Passat again received subpar marks. Though the big sedan’s score is better than earlier, it remains considerably worse than most other 2012s. Digging through the repair reports, a common cause emerges. Ignition coils aren’t failing. Nor are window regulators. Instead, the most common problem for these cars happens to be rattles.

VAG certainly knows how to engineer a car without bits that squeak and jiggle. The far more complex new A6 and A7 have had hardly any problems so far, rattles or otherwise. So what happened with the new Passat? Don’t quickly blame the new Chattanooga plant: the “hencho en Mexico” 2012 Jetta is also prone to rattle. (Mysteriously, the 2011 Jetta fares better.)

These updated reliability stats cover owner experiences through the end of June 2012 (scores elsewhere are about 14 months behind). Among recently redesigned cars, the Passat is the exception rather than the rule. In addition to the A6 and A7, the FIAT 500, Honda Civic, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Accent, Hyundai Veloster, and Subaru Impreza are all doing well so far. Initial data for the 2013 Mazda CX-5 suggest it will be joining them. The Ford Focus isn’t among the best, but “about average” is an improvement over Fords redesigned a year or two earlier (Taurus, Fiesta, Explorer).

TrueDelta will update its car reliability stats again in November. The more people participate, the more models we can cover and the more precise these stats will be.

To view the updated repair trips per year stats:

Car Reliability Survey results

Michael Karesh operates truedelta.com, a provider of car reliability and pricing information.

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Junkyard Find: 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1988-volkswagen-quantum-syncro-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/junkyard-find-1988-volkswagen-quantum-syncro-wagon/#comments Thu, 13 Sep 2012 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=460100 Because I have some friends who race a Quantum Syncro, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for junkyard parts sources. After several years (including two of them in a state that has more weird four-wheel-drive vehicles than any other), I’ve finally found one!
Most Volkswagens, Audis, and Volkswagen-Audi mashups that you see in the junkyard show fewer than 200,000 miles on the clock. Not this car! 301,533 miles.
Judging from the bodywork and not-particularly-thrashed interior, someone loved this car enough to keep it in fairly presentable shape for decades.
The Quantum name was used for the North American-market Passat during the 1980s, and the Syncro used the drivetrain from the Audi 80 Quattro. When I called the team captain of the Chicken & Waffles 24 Hours of LeMons Quantum Syncro, he said he didn’t need any parts because the team is building a new car. That means what may be the only Quantum Syncro race car in America is being retired.
17 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1988 Volkswagen Quantum Syncro Down On The Junkyard - picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Capsule Review: 1998 Volkswagen Passat, the G.O.A.T. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/capsule-review-1998-volkswagen-passat-the-g-o-a-t/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/capsule-review-1998-volkswagen-passat-the-g-o-a-t/#comments Mon, 30 Jul 2012 15:15:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=454692

Sometimes it all comes together, doesn’t it — right before it all falls apart. Lightning in a bottle. Never as good before, never to be equaled afterwards. Duane Allman crashes his motorcycle, the sunburst Les Paul yields to the “Les Paul SG”, the perfected Honda VFR800 Interceptor is replaced by something that looks like the Nostromo’s escape pod, the woman you desperately love goes desperately crazy and desperately calls your wife, that kind of stuff.

The family sedan, too, had its high-water mark, its ’59 ‘Burst, its At Fillmore East. The G.O.A.T. The Greatest Of All Time. Once in history, all the tides converged. The resulting car was fast, spacious, full-featured, affordable, safe, economical, gorgeous, desirable. Hmm. We’re missing one quality, aren’t we? We’ll get to that later.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the G.O.A.T.: the 1998 Volkswagen Passat GLS 1.8t five-speed manual. Yes, I had one.

It was late 1997 and I was looking for a sedan to replace my soon-to-be-off-lease 1996 Taurus. My wife and I looked at pretty much everything under thirty grand, from the Camry XLE (couldn’t see myself driving a poverty-wedge Toyota, didn’t plan to own it long enough for the build quality to be an issue) to the Acura 2.5TL (apparently the result of one drunken Honda employee reminiscing about the original “aero” Audi 100 over a static-filled international phone line to another drunken Honda employee who wrote down the specs as gospel and then chose to make the dream come true using an Accord sans front clip). What I really wanted was an Audi A4, of course. Everybody wanted an Audi A4 in 1998. The car had appeared out of nowhere and simply blitzed the brainstems of the nation’s twentysomethings. The cars were so freakin’ cool that Audi was able to paint them in eye-watering shades of yellow and blue, call them “Cool Shades” in completely non-ironic fashion, and still watch ‘em fly out the door to young architects, recording engineers, and university professors.

The Passat, according to Car and Driver, was a long-wheelbase A4 with more room and even more impressive exterior design. Although VW would later on Pimp Ze Ride and create the unfortunately garish 2001 Passat from the same body shell, that doesn’t diminish the fact that an original ’98 Passat, complete with plain yellow side markers, remains probably the cleanest-looking sedan in modern history. There isn’t a single unnecessary line, flare, swoop, or crease on the thing. It’s perfectly proportioned and it slips through the air silently. It made the A4 look like it was trying too hard to justify its price premium.

The two cars shared the same base-model powertrain, too: the VW Group’s twenty-valve four-cylinder with light-pressure turbo. The mild 150-horsepower rating attached to this mill didn’t begin to describe how quick the car felt when compared to its competition. Having driven A4s equipped with this turbomotor and the optional V-6, I already knew that the silky thirty-valver was no faster in the real world than the 1.8t, and it cost seriously more money in both Audi and Volkswagen variants of the “B5″ platform.

The color rags were unanimous in their long-lead praises of the Passat, and at the time I didn’t understand just how little that meant, so we took a test drive in the bright-blue demo unit assigned to Midwestern Auto Group as soon as the car was available. The advance demand for the Passat meant that this particular car had been ridden more often than Pamela Des Barres, and in similarly careless fashion — as I recall, we got our shot in Week 2 of the Passat’s stay at the dealership and the car already had over 2500 miles on it. We weren’t in any way convinced. The interior didn’t look as nice as it had in C/D’s lovingly-lit promo photographs and the seats wobbled in their mountings as I attacked an on-ramp with what I believed to be a club racer’s worth of aggression. It even smelled weird.

A month’s worth of test drives in the Japanese competition, plus a brief visit to the BMW dealer to spec out a 318i, brought us back to VW. This time, there was an undriven unit available for us, in Royal Green. Three hours later, that car was in our driveway. Maybe it was the power of suggestion, maybe it was car-shopping ennui, maybe it was the prospect of paying $575 a month to drive a four-cylinder BMW with wheel covers, but the Passat absolutely convinced us on what Shalamar would call the second time around.

Immediately, we took the Passat all around the state: to the in-laws’ up in Cleveland, to the outlet malls and unusual restaurants, to Hocking Hills to enjoy a mostly ice-free winter romp down those infamous two-lanes. Everything about the car was even better than we’d hoped. The stereo was pretty good. All four seats were comfortable for the long haul. As noted above, it was silent on the freeway, which means a lot more to driver fatigue levels than most of us want to admit. We averaged well above thirty miles per gallon in mixed use, which seemed amazing given the ferocity with which I flogged the sleek sedan from every stoplight.

The Passat wasn’t just satisfying to drive; it was satisfying to have. It was forcefully tasteful, and when one is in one’s twenties that sort of thing matters. We pushed the Lexus ES300s and BMW E36es out of the left lane, laughing at their outmoded window glass and awkward proportions. There was simply nothing better out there. Anything available at the same price was pathetic; anything costing more was just wasteful. Our only concern was that we wouldn’t find anything nearly as good to replace it.

That turned out to be the case; about twenty-six months into our time with the Passat, I traded it for a 2000 Golf 1.8t GLS five-speed hatchback. The idea was that my wife would have a slightly smaller car to drive to work. The reality was that the Golf was worse at everything, including conserving fuel. The lady of the house wanted her Passat back. We went to look at the 2001 Passat, which as noted above was rather frightful-looking and cost considerably more for no good reason. Finally, I had a bit of a quarter-life crisis occasioned by the fact that I was nearly thirty years old and hadn’t yet purchased a new BMW, which is how we came to have a 2001 BMW 330i Sport five-speed in the driveway in the Golf’s place less than eight months after said Golf made its first appearance there. The BMW, Mrs. Baruth told me, “was pretty much as good as the Passat.” Since it had cost nearly forty-three thousand dollars against the Passat’s $21,495 or thereabouts — two to one! like Surf City for suburban strivers! — I didn’t take a lot of comfort in that mild approbation.

The Passat which replaced the “B5″ was very much the Gibson SG to the B5′s sunburst Lester, or perhaps “5150″ to the B5′s “1984″. It looked cheaper and cost more. Just like that, the best sedan in history was gone. Meanwhile, the remaining examples of that “best sedan” were busy showing their owners just how VW had been able to sell a car like that for a price like that. The interior bits rubbed shiny and then fell off. The electronics went maddeningly dark. The engines died with numbing regularity. Some of them even rusted. The ’98 Passat didn’t exactly deliver the hammer blow to the face of VW’s millennial renaissance — that task was easily accomplished by the “Emm Kay Eye Vee” Jettas with their list of failures that seemingly owed equal allegiance to Robert Bosch and Hieronymus Bosch — but they turned a lot of True Believers into Toyota Owners.

Five years after our Royal Green Passat wandered out of our lives, I drove my wife back to Midwestern Auto Group to take delivery of our new 2005 Phaeton. The sticker said something along the lines of eighty-one thousand dollars. This time, our comparison set had abandoned Camrys and Acuras for the W220 S-Class and the frowny-faced Siebener Bimmer. I insisted that she drive the car home — it was really a gift for her, for sticking with me through the hard times into the limitless paradise of our middle-class prosperity, ever after and forever. I didn’t know it at the time, but we were at our high point, too. We were the Allman Brothers, I was Duane, and I was about to go shopping for a motorcycle. We pulled out of the dealership’s massive underground garage and the sunlight flashbulbed the Phaeton’s spare-no-expense interior. The big V-8 purred and the seats adjusted to our whims in eighteen different ways while blowing cold air up the back of my Marol casual shirt. I was quite impressed with myself. “What do you think?” I asked her.

“It’s pretty nice. I mean, it’s really nice. It’s about as nice… as my Passat.”

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Volkswagen Passat Sales Up 25,000 Percent During VW’s Best Year Since 1973 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/volkswagen-passat-sales-up-25000-percent-during-vws-best-year-since-1973/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/volkswagen-passat-sales-up-25000-percent-during-vws-best-year-since-1973/#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2012 18:08:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=451435

Volkswagen is on track to have their best year in America since 1973 – and all it took was a revamped product lineup that got largely negative reviews from the automotive press.

Sales for the first half of 2012 are up 35 percent versus the same time-frame in 2011. June sales were up 34 percent versus 12 months ago. Sales of the Passat are at an all-time high, with the TDI accounting for 21 percent of the mix. Dealers apparently can’t get enough TDIs to fill demand, and VW is hoping to bring more of the engines from their plant in Poland to the Chattanooga, Tennessee factory. Year to date, sales of the Passat are up nearly 25,000% according to independent analyst Timothy Cain. Sales of the Jetta are also strong, capturing the 14th best-selling car spot in America so far, ahead of the Kia Optima and Chrysler 200. So much for being one of the biggest flops of 2011.

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Toyota Camry Hybrid vs. Volkswagen Passat TDI: Which Would You Buy? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/toyota-camry-hybrid-vs-volkswagen-passat-tdi-which-would-you-buy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/07/toyota-camry-hybrid-vs-volkswagen-passat-tdi-which-would-you-buy/#comments Mon, 02 Jul 2012 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=450864

Hybrid or diesel? For peak fuel economy in a $30,000 midsize sedan you need one or the other. The Toyota Camry is the most efficient of the five available hybrids (until the 2013 Ford Fusion arrives). If you live in Europe, the diesel world is your oyster. In North America, you have one option for an oil-burning mid-size sedan, the Volkswagen Passat. Which would you pick?

Neither sedan’s design would have blazed any trails even a decade ago. But the Passat’s styling, both inside and out, is cleaner and more harmonious. Toyota’s designers can’t seem to step back far enough from the trees to envision a forest. The Camry Hybrid XLE’s interior, with some materials a little better and others a little worse than those in the Passat TDI SEL Premium, has too much going on stylistically. The upper doors halfheartedly attempt to flow into the instrument panel, while lacking the latter’s stitching. The “stitching” molded into the center stack trim is similarly counterproductive, as it actually cheapens the interior. Of course, many people (including the one I’m married to) don’t notice such things. Though both cars have seats trimmed in faux suede, and the Passat additionally includes faux timber, they’ll likely find the ambiance warmer inside the Camry.

Both interiors have been designed to maximize perceived room with fairly flat door panels that meet the instrument panel at a right angle. The previous-generation Camry’s interior, with curvier panels, feels much tighter. Both cars have broad, supportive front seats that provide little in the way of lateral support, though the Passat’s cushions are firmer and the Camry’s headrests jut forward to an uncomfortable degree. There’s plenty of room for adults in the back of the Camry. The Passat, with another inch of combined legroom that somehow seems like three inches, invites limo comparisons…until you notice that, unlike in the Toyota, there are no rear air vents.

Then there’s cargo hauling. Both cars are offered only as sedans. By working in shifts to compact the Camry’s hybrid bits, Toyota engineers bumped trunk volume 2.5 cubic feet, to 13.1. A worthwhile increase, but still not close to the Passat’s 15.9. Both trunks can be expanded by folding the rear seat, but you only have a mail slot on the right side in the Camry.

Though the new Camry Hybrid is more firmly suspended than the previous one, and the Americanized Passat is softer than the typical German sedan, the two cars haven’t met in the middle. The Camry remains a considerably softer, cushier, quieter car, with some float and bobble through rough curves, while the Passat provides more nuanced feedback (through the seat of the pants much more than the electrically assisted steering) and has more tightly controlled body motions. Your ears will only report that the VW is a diesel at idle, and then only if you’re paying attention. The additional noise inside its cabin mostly comes from the wind and the road.

Unlike some smaller fuel sippers, both cars have more than enough power for scooting about the ‘burbs or popping onto the freeway. Both feel torquey at low-to-moderate engine speeds, the Camry because of the assist provided by its electric motor, the Passat because it’s a diesel. With far more peak horsepower, 200 vs. 140, the Camry Hybrid’s powertrain can get you to sixty sooner. But it’s not a joy to wind out, so this advantage isn’t large in the real world. If you have a lead foot, neither car is your best bet.

The EPA MPG numbers—43 city, 39 highway for the Camry and 30 city, 40 highway for the Passat—rightly suggest that the two cars excel in different types of driving. But the EPA shortchanges both cars. Judging from its trip computer (which I initially doubted, but owners report similar numbers), the Passat TDI can manage high 30s in suburban driving and low 50s on the highway without too much effort. In straight highway driving, the Camry cannot match it, checking in around 45. A hybrid’s additional fuel efficiency is derived from its ability to recoup energy while decelerating. If there’s no deceleration, the hybrid powertrain not only provides no benefit but, through its additional mass, actually becomes a disadvantage. Off the highway the tables are turned. The more stops per mile, the better the Camry becomes, especially if you factor in the higher cost per gallon of diesel.

It also helps if one does not drive the Camry “normally.” My wife managed 38 miles-per-gallon in the Camry Hybrid, about the same as I observed in the Passat TDI when driving with the flow of traffic. But when I was behind the wheel, the trip computer regularly reported averages in the low 50s and as high as 63 on my standard suburban route. The hybrid’s operation makes a very casual driving style feel “right,” and I personally enjoy the experience. But many people simply don’t want to drive with a light enough foot to achieve these numbers. For them, the TDI is the better way to go, as its efficiency varies much less with driving style.

Load both cars up, and the Camry stickers for a couple grand more, $35,330 vs. $33,090. But, based on the car price comparison tool, the Toyota includes about $900 in additional features, cutting the difference to $1,300. Also note that Toyota dealers enjoy wider margins. Compare invoices, and the VW has only a $554 advantage before adjusting for feature differences, and a $300 disadvantage afterwards. Since invoice prices often better reflect what people actually pay, price isn’t likely to be the deciding factor between these two cars.

Consumers are likely to decide between the two based on styling, ride, handling, amenities, driving conditions, driving style, and the reputation of each brand. After a rough start, the 2012 Passat has improved so that it’s not far from the average in TrueDelta’s car reliability survey, but it’s very early. If you had to choose between the two, which would you buy?

Camry Hybrid provided with fuel and insurance by Toyota.

Passat TDI provided by Dan Kelley, Suburban VW in Farmington Hills, MI, 248-741-7903

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail Camry Hybrid front quarter, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Passat TDI front quarter, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Camry Hybrid rear quarter, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Passat TDI rear quarter, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Camry Hybrid LE interior, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Passat TDI interior, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Camry Hybrid trunk, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Passat TDI trunk, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Camry Hybrid engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Passat TDI engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Carmy dash to door, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Camry center stack stitching, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Camry Hybrid instruments, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Passat TDI missing feature, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Passat TDI trip computer, photo courtesy Michael Karesh ]]>
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New York 2012: Volkswagen Passat AllTrack Satisfies The Diesel Wagon Crowd http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/new-york-2012-volkswagen-passat-alltrack-satisfies-the-diesel-wagon-crowd/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/04/new-york-2012-volkswagen-passat-alltrack-satisfies-the-diesel-wagon-crowd/#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2012 17:39:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=438559

Volkswagen purists rejoice; here’s a European Passat wagon with a 2.0L diesel, a DSG gearbox, all-wheel drive and the prestige of not being an American-built VW.

The AllTrack is officially a concept for our purposes, but VW will sell you one if you live in the Schengen Zone. Look for an American version to have a gasoline option as well as the 140 horsepower TDI motor. The AllTrack would conceivably be a strong rival to the Subaru Outback while also helping VW out with the big gaping crossover hole in their lineup. I wonder if they’ll offer it with a manual?

The biggest sticking point here seems to be that the AllTrack is ostensibly built in Europe, off of a car that isn’t sold here. Will it be imported or will Chattanooga somehow be retrofitted to build a unique model?

Thanks to AutoGuide.com for the photos

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Volkswagen Alltrack Concept; A Diesel Wagon, But Alas, No Manual http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/volkswagen-alltrack-concept-a-diesel-wagon-but-alas-no-manual/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/volkswagen-alltrack-concept-a-diesel-wagon-but-alas-no-manual/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2012 21:41:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=437266

Volkswagen will apparently debut a “concept” version of the Passat Alltrack, a European model that shares little with our Americanized Passat sedan.

Featuring 4Motion all-wheel drive, a 2.0L TDI making 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque and a6-speed DSG gearbox, the Alltrack is like a German Subaru Outback, but with a much desired diesel engine. There’s even a hill descent control feature. Sadly, there is no manual, and no honest-to-goodness Passat wagon either, even though the Alltrack is only 1.2 inches higher than the regular wagon.

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Review: 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/review-2012-volkswagen-passat-sel-2-5/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/review-2012-volkswagen-passat-sel-2-5/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2012 18:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=428788 Volkswagen’s “premium” image in the minds of car enthusiasts is not entirely accurate. From the Beetle to the Rabbit, VW has a long history of making budget cars for the masses. While the automotive press lauded the high-rent interiors and Audi-sourced parts, the Touraeg and Phaeton were mere detours on the road to brand identity. Shoppers wanted a “people’s” VW again, and the result of this outcry is the 2012 VW Passat SEL.

While other VWs may get an expressive fascia, the new Passat is pure conservative VW. From the geometric grille to the character line that’s as flat as Kansas, the Passat never strikes a pose that would offend a conservative mid-size shopper. If you want a VW with more excitement or Euro flair, the CC brings more aggressive bumpers, more chrome and sexier tail lights to the party. While some in the press have called the Passat boring, I would posit the sedate lines will help the Passat age more gracefully than some of the competition, most notably the new Sonata.

Those of us that seriously considered the previous generation Passat when purchasing a near-luxury vehicle like an Acura or Volvo (myself included) will be disappointed with the interior. The new Passat is now $8,000 cheaper than the previous car, and it’s re-positioning as a mid-size, rather than near-luxury car meant that something had to give. Mid-size shoppers demand expansive rather than expensive cabins, and VW took note. Camcord shoppers also place fuel economy, electronic doodads and rear-seat leg room higher on their list than squishy dash bits.  As a result, the new Passat is as mainstream as any, with parts quality a notch below the outgoing model but easily on par with Ford’s Fusion and the new Camry, right down to the fake wood on the dash.

The lack of real tree is just one of the changes that VW made to pull the Passat out of the near-luxury market. Now missing at any trim level are  HID headlamps, optional AWD (although the rumor mill says it may be available later), the turbo four-cylinder engine, a station wagon variant, backup camera, rain sensing wipers, rear seat HVAC vents and a few other items that the VWVortex crowd feels are essential for a Passat. All this really means to the shopper is that the Passat is finally aimed squarely at Camry and Accord shoppers who don’t buy those sorts of options anway. Perhaps because of VW’s reliability numbers in past years the one standard feature VW didn’t remove is their 3 year/36,000 mile scheduled maintenance included on every Passat.

Fitting in with the rest of the class, VW fitted a 2.5 liter naturally aspirated base engine under the hood. Unlike the competition, the Passat’s engine sports a 5-cylinder design. The five-banger is smoother than the competition’s base engines and the average shopper won’t notice (or won’t care about) the odd cylinder count. Channeling the 170HP and 177lb-ft of torque to the front wheels is a standard 6-speed automatic (SE models have a manual option while TDI and V6 models get a 6-speed DSG). 2.5 shoppers aren’t likely to get hot and bothered for a DSG either, as long as they don’t have to work a clutch and gearshifter, and the combination delivers 22MPG city and 31MPG highway according to the EPA. Over our 480 miles with the Passat we averaged a respectable 28.5MPG in mixed driving with highway runs easily hitting the advertised 31MPG.

The Passat’s longer wheelbase (up 3.7 inches from 2010) pays dividends with a smoother highway ride, but notably less poise in the corners compared to the old model. While the tuning of the suspension may be slightly softer than before, much of the difference comes down to a rubber change. The outgoing model wore fairly wide (for a mass-market car) 235/45R17 shoes while the new Passat slips on svelte 215/55R17s. I like my tires wide,but this change brings the Passat in line with the Camry, Acrcord and Mazda 6 which all wear 215-width rubber on comparable models. Aiding the Passat’s agility, which I subjectively place somewhere between a Camry and a Mazda 6, is a fairly light 3,221lb curb weight.

As Ford has shown with their SYNC product, volume car shoppers want technology. VW has unfortunately decided that your level of infotainment tech directly relates to a trim level. While it is possible to upgrade some of these items after you drive off the lot, it’s far easier if you know what you want going in. Base models have standard Bluetooth integration with streaming audio, an auxiliary input jack and 9 speakers. Jumping up to the SE trim may get you a touch-screen interface and Sirius satellite radio but if iPod love is what you’re after you’ll only find that in the “SE with Sunroof and Navigation” or higher trims. The top-of-the-line SEL model will get you 400 watts of Fender amplification, and a subwoofer that’s tuned toward the “boomy” side of the baseline.

The base infotainment system, dubbed “RNS315″  gives you a 5 inch medium-resolution (400×240) touchscreen display, a single CD player and Sirius satellite radio. Stepping up to the SEL we tested gets you the “RNS 510” which is a 6.5 inch high-resolution (800×480) touchscreen system with a single slot DVD player and 45GB of hard drive storage split between maps (15GB) and personal music storage (25GB). The 510 is also capable of displaying live traffic data as well as “Sirius Travel Link” fuel prices, ski info, sports scores, weather forecasts and movie listings. While most of the information is superfluous, the fuel pricing is handy, especially if you opt for a diesel Passat as locating a diesel station can be tricky at times. The traffic and Travel Link features require a Sirius subscription and VW tosses in a 6-month trial for free. While I normally think the live traffic feature is worth the cost, VW has relegated traffic displays to a single map view rather than overlaying the information on all map views as most other manufacturers do so you might just skip the service if you have a smartphone and Google maps.

Now to the nitty-gritty. In 2011 the average vehicle sold in the US left the dealer show room for just under $30,000 before taxes. Since VW is aiming straight at the mainstream it should be no surprise that our SEL tester rang in at $28,395 (not including a $770 destination charge). Based on my research, the Passat compares well with the Camry and Accord but the Hyundai Sonata enjoys a pricing and feature advantage over the VW, while also possessing more radical styling and a Hyundai badge. My local VW dealer wouldn’t give me any firm numbers, but indicated the “2.5 SE with Sunroof” ($25,625) and “2.5 SE with Sunroof and Navigation” ($26,795) were their top selling Passat models.

Last time I new-car-shopped I was torn between the Lexus IS350, a Passat 3.6 4Motion and a Volvo S60R. While the R got the final nod, this speaks to the market position the former Passat held. This position seems to be the hardest thing for VW lovers, VW shoppers and the automotive press to let go of. This Passat is no longer a Volvo/Acura competitor. Instead, it’s exactly what the American shoppers asked for: a grown up Jetta. As painful as this may be to hear, it’s good for VW, and it’s good for the Camcord shopper looking for something different. For the shopper looking to replace their 2007 Passat with a new VW or the forum fanoy that’s broken hearted VW has “ruined” the Passat, get over it. Your Passat is the Volkswagen CC.

Volkswagen provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Specifications as tested

0-30:3 seconds

0-60: 8.9 seconds

1/4 mile: 16.9 @ 82.9MPH

Observed fuel economy: 28.5MPG over 480 miles

 

2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, rear seats, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, 3/4, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, 3/4, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, side, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, side, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, side, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, rear 3/4, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, rear, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, headlights, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, grille, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, wheel, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front 3/4, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front 3/4, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front 3/4, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, side, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, wheel, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front 3/4, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, front, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, passat logo, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes IM2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, rear, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, mirror, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, headlamp, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Exterior, grille, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, gauge cluster, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, gauge cluster, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, analog clock, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, HVAC controls, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, dash and front  seats, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, center console, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, infotainment, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, steering wheel controls, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, steering wheel controls, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, power seat controls, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, dash, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, front door, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, cupholders, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, iPod interface, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, rear seats, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, rear seats, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, rear seats, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, rear seats, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Interior, start/stop button, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Engine, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Engine, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Trunk, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes 2012 Volkswagen Passat SEL 2.5, Trunk, Picture courtesy of Alex L Dykes passat-sel-thumb Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1977 Volkswagen Dasher http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/junkyard-find-1977-volkswagen-dasher/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/junkyard-find-1977-volkswagen-dasher/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2011 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412892 When Volkswagen finally decided to try this newfangled water-cooled engine idea, their first effort was the Audi 80-derived Passat. In North America, this car was badged as a Dasher, and it didn’t exactly break any sales records. Prior to finding this example in a Denver junkyard earlier in the week, I hadn’t seen a Dasher for at least a decade.
The ’77 Dasher two-door hatch listed for $4,510, which was about $450 more than the Datsun 710 hardtop, $850 more than a six-cylinder Chevy Nova hatchback, and $700 more than a Plymouth Volare six-cylinder sedan. With front-wheel-drive and generally more modern design, the Dasher was somewhat more sophisticated than much of the competition, but on the expensive side for car shoppers accustomed to paying under three grand for a Beetle.
DPD air conditioning! That must have presented a challenge for the Dasher’s 78-horsepower engine. I’m going to see if my friend with a ’76 Audi Fox has any use for parts off this thing.

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